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Norman Finkelstein Education. (2012) 'Knowing Too Much Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End.' New. (CC)

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Israel 114, Albany 30, Bds 21, U.s. 13, United States 13, Palestine 12, Israel Palestine 7, Dr. Finkelstein 6, Anna 5, Us 5, South Carolina 4, South Africa 4, United Nations 4, New York 4, Chomsky 4, Norman Finkelstein 4, America 3, Obama 3, Washington 3, Adam 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Norman Finkelstein  Education.  (2012) 'Knowing Too Much  
   Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an...  

    December 8, 2012
    2:45 - 4:59pm EST  

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facts. you try to tell the story in a way that is inductive to the reader where the readers on the edge of his or her seat saying what what i have done in this situation? and any great movie you have been 2 or any great book you have read that is the magic. novelized biography is a creation, and artistic creation but i would say other than the bare facts as you saw in that book anything written about her is -- has to have some degree of friction and some projection of whoever's writing that. what i have tried to do is show her as much as a man can get into a woman's head, show her going through these various struggles and surmounting a lot of these difficulties she was able to surmount in her life. what it did for her inside and how it brought her to this place
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that the old catholic world reveres her, and explain that in such a way that it is told as a story to people who find it an enjoyable experience and to read and encounter her and i suppose love her. >> for more information on this and other cities on the local content vehicle's for go to c-span.org/localcontent. with a month left in 2012 many publications are putting together a third year end list of notable books. booktv will feature several of these lists focusing on nonfiction elections. these nonfiction titles were included in the new york times 100 notable books of 2012. and barack obama:the story david maraniss, associate editor of the washington post present a history of president barack obama's family. charles murray of the american enterprise institute argues a growing divide between the upper
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and lower class goes beyond economics differences in coming apart:the state of white america 1960-2010. in victory, the triumphant game revolution, linda hirschman presenting history of the gay-rights movement. david nassau chronicles the life and career of the father of the kennedy political dynasty in the patriarch, remarkable life and turbulent times of joseph kennedy. history professor at duke university examined haiti from its founding to today in haiti:the aftershock of history. for an extended list of links to publications, 2012 notable books election visit booktv website booktv.org or our facebook page facebook.com/booktv. >> next, norman finkelstein argues the support of your by liberal american jews is declining by overwhelming
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evidence the israeli government after treatment of the palestinians is unjustified. this is about two hours. [applause] >> thank you very much for that lovely introduction. i want to thank karen, colin robinson and john oakes. the american jewish romance with israel is both ordinary and extraordinary. american jewish concern over israel is not so different from the long-distance nationalism of cuban-americans, irish-americans, indian americans and palestinian americans who are physically in the state that virtually or vicariously over there but the differences are no less important to make this a special case. very few american jews are of is really gorgeous.
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israel as always been projection screen for american jews, phantasmagorical region of the mind as much as an actual country. another more salient distinction is the exceptional physician that israel occupies, israel is america's closest ally of part from saudi arabia. in spite of its small population the jewish by considerable margin the biggest recipient of u.s. aid $3 billion annually. israel is also an occupying power, born of war in which two thirds of the indigenous population was driven from their land, israel went on to expand its borders further in 1967 when it conquered the west bank, the gaza strip and golan heights. there are half a million jewish settlers in the occupied territories who enjoy all manner of state subsidies and privileges while palestinians under occupation suffer indignities and humiliation too numerous to mention.
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the situation is not much better for palestinian citizens in israel who are increasingly treated as a fifth column despite their loyalty that the state has shown little affection over the years. israel's occupation is the longest in modern history and the israeli government appears to be in no hurry to end it particularly if it can change the topic to iran's nuclear program or the threat of islam. unconditional support for israel is not the only reason the united states is viewed with suspicion and hostility in much of the arab and muslim world but certainly one of the reasons and a very big one. the american jewish relationship with israel is a considerable geopolitical significance and one does not have to buy in to anti-semitic notions of a jewish power, to see that american jews played an important role in establishing parameters of discussion such as what can or
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cannot be said on the subject and arguably in shaping american policy in the region. the best example of such influence is the so-called israel lobby which is a settlement enterprise and israel's many wars. and stirring up panic on the iranian nuclear program. lobby does not speak most american jews that has been successful in bullying its critics to the point where it has convinced many if not most people that we stand united behind israel, right or wrong. so much for the joke that if you get two jews in the room you get three opinions. the idea of unanimous and unconditional jewish support for israel has always been not
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myths. as norman finkelstein points out in his book knowing too much the american jewish romance was fostered by the 1957 war when israel became a key u.s. ally and by the emergence of holocaust memory. it is the product in other words of politics and history, not of something primordial and static and the most eloquent critic of is really policy have been jews such as tony judd, distinguished guests, not to mention anna stone. this is by no means an accident but fit between israel and american jews with strong traditions of liberalism and universal ethics. was never a national one. jewish liberal supporters of israel had to look past for the night unappetizing human-rights record but that has become much harder and harder to do. norman finkelstein argues in his new book that american jews no
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too much now and in the battle for american jewish mines, the guerrillas and his zionism. making this argument for some time, it is now being echoed in a different key by establishment figures like roger cohen and walter crone and thomas friedman. is this the end romance? i am not sure. support for israel has long been one of the three walls of what the french jewish writer called the jewish prison, and holocaust memory and the idea of the people. there is no doubt the we are seeing important and encouraging explosion of a debate among jews around the question of israel which is of course also the question of palestine footers for all intents and purposes only one real state from the jordan river to the mediterranean. the work of activist groups like jewish boys for peace and
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saigon, in demonstrating the jews do not speak with one voice on the middle east and what i think is particularly exciting is a growing number of young jewish american college campuses are joining forces with palestinians and arab americans and understand the fate of israel, palestine can't just be a conversation on jews. i don't want to stray optimistic note. we may be seeing not so much the end of a romance but the growing diversification of the american jewish opinion. after years of forced conformity it is a welcome development and may yet create the conditions for new alliances and a more concerted campaign against the occupation. is my honor to introduce two speakers who have devoted themselves to peace and justice in israel/palestine. speaking out on this issue has never been easy and more often
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than not a thankless task that requires courage, fearlessness, willingness to make enemies and to in door all manner of insults including the cheapest and most obvious, the charge of anti-semitism which amounts to effort was communication. norman finkelstein, the son of parents to survive the warsaw ghetto is a political scientist and author of numerous books including image and reality of israel/palestine conflict and his recently published "knowing too much" which has provided us the topic of today's discussion and came to prominence in the 1980s with his critique of joan peters's widely praised from time immemorial, highly selective use of ottoman demographic records, claimed palestine's arab majority is not indigenous that had been attracted to palestine by opportunities created by jewish settlers.
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thanks to the forensic critique that book is understood to be work has credible as holocaust revision. led a time when descend on israel was rare and harshly punished norman was willing to stay with the others and a heavy price for continuing to speak his mind and made it easier for others to do so. and deal with matters of tone rather than substance that deep respect for his work on palestine and want to pay tribute to his courage and commitment and the ethical vision that underlies his work. [applause] >> our other distinguished guest is the national organizer with
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the u.s. campaign to end the israeli occupation and co-founder of the st. louis palestine solidarity committee in st. louis jewish boys for peace, the granddaughter of holocaust survivors, came to an awareness of palestinian question on a backpacking trip to the middle east in 2003 when she met palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. justice in palestine is now life's cause. she is the author of witnessing palestine, a jewish american woman in the occupied territories and made numerous television appearances including a lecture and i'm sure many of you saw on the daily show and in 2009 she received the arab-american anti-discrimination committee's peace and justice award and certificates of commendation from the governor of wisconsin for her commitment to justice in palestine. she has given 500 lectures at
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churches, mosques, synagogues and universities. please join me in welcoming our two speakers. [applause] >> thank you for coming out. does this sound ok? can you hear me? thank you for coming out this afternoon. i would like to thank adam for those very generous words. my publisher pretty much dropped up this idea.
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colleagues, as it is called, not sure if courtney is here, loan spirit, i want to thank her. and most of all i want to thank anna for whom i have the highest regard. i do a lot of public speaking around the country and i always ask the question who has been here before me or who is coming after me and literally every single place i go the answer is -- regrettably there are very few other names. and of course disappointed as everybody in the room, probably more so that professor chomsky didn't make it. and initially i was pretty deflated at the thought of having to fill his shoes. it is luxurious trying to fill
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whitney houston's shoes. fern was rather shocked that i knew who she reese was. i try to impress the younger generation. after a the moments of deflationary, ego and deflationary is more specific, i had to keep reminding myself that what i am doing and what i have done is not about ego gratification. ..
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>> there's an israel lobby on the one hand, and there's a jewish ethnic bloc on the other. the two entities, they often overlapped, and the clout, obviously, grows out of the jewish community's support for israel. but they are not the same. and conflating the two creates a lot of confusion. so if a jewish professor at columbia law school writes a journal article defending the legality of israeli settlements, it's almost certainly not because the lobby orders or even prodded the professor. but because of the professor's personal identification with the jewish state. it's not a conspiracy, it's just
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ethic chauvinism. however, whereas it's almost guaranteed that the israel lobby will back the israeli government's current policies, whatever they happen to be and however indefensible they might be, that's, after all, what lobbies for foreign governments do. still, there's no guarantee that the jewish community will reflectsively -- reflectsively support these policies. the backing of american jews for israel has historically been conditional, and it's been circumstantial. it's been shaped by three factors; ethnicity, citizenship and ideology. plainly, american jews support israel in much higher percentages and with much
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greater fervor than most americans because israel calls itself a or this jewish state, and jews consequently fe a sense of kinship with it. the problem is that most analyses of the american jewish relationship with israel begin and end there. if you're jewish, it's assumed that you more or less uncritically support israel because of the blood bond. but in reality that hasn't been the case. from israel's founding in 1948 until the june 1967 war, american jews displayed very little interest in israel. after world war ii, unprecedented opportunities opened up for american jews. the barriers to jewish ambition
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fell away. as irving chris call put it -- crystal put it, suddenly things seemed possible that hitherto had seemed utterly impossible. jews set their sights on making it, as was crudely boasted, in america. while that political and cultural -- [inaudible] called israel left most jews cold. what's more, because israel asserted itself to be the state of the jews, it's rev represent to revive the bogey of dual loyalty that has historically haunted jews. the last thing jews wanted as they ascended the ladder of success realizing the american dream, the very last thing they wanted was for their loyalty to america to be called into
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question. it was all the more reason to keep israel at ars length. so ifyou do as i d one year and you thumb through the pages of "mmentary magazine," the hipflags publition of the american jewish establishment during the years pceding the june 1967 war, you'll discover in the pages of "commentary" there's barely a mention of israel. in fact, in those days -- bfore june 196 -- one would each come aoss esarticl by lucy due bid witch who later became a staunch apologist for israel, articles in which she denounces, and now i'm quoting her: the massacres of arabs resulting from israeli
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state policy. juerything changed after the 1967 war when israel bec the new religion of american jews. after its lightning ctory, washington upgraded israel's status to a strategic american asset. jewish support for israel no ngerthreatened to -- [inaudible] dual loyalty. on the contrary, it now connoted super loyalty as american jews defended on the front lines american interests against the communist third world arab hordes. the jewish state's martial prowess became a source of pride for jews for whom at that time
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the primary associatn of the nazi holocaust -- to the extent that it trillionerred any association -- triggered any association, was of j well,ews g like sheep to slaughter. the imageisra projected of itself alsoesonated with the st liberalism of american -- [inaudible] like the pioneers conquering the american wilderness, israel had made the desert bloom, was the only democracy in the middle east. it was t light unto the nations. it was home to the microutopia of the -- [inaudible] in the past three years -- excuse me, in the past three decades, however, the uplifting image of israel has withered and so has american jewish support for israel. it is not so much that israel has changed, although it has
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changed mostly if not entirely for the worse, rather it's that american jews who are terate know much more. indeed, at this point they know too much. american jews can noonger reconc theirlil beliefs with, t borrow a phrase from the soviet era, rarely existing zionism. it can be said until quite recently most scholarship on israel read like "exodus" with footnotes. to take one example, it was a truism that all the wars israel fought were in self-defense. but current scholarship reveals a very different picture. in his monumental study, "defending the holyland, the
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author who was formerly the head of strategic studies at tel aviv university, it's a very large volume, and the essence of e volume -- ere s some original work, but the essence of the volume is he surveys the whole gamut of mainstream scholarship on all the wars israel has fought. it's a very impressive, i think, scholarly achievement. but for our purposes what's more interesting is what ccludes. so let me quote him. israel's war experience is a story of folly, recklessness and self-made traps. none of t wars, with the possible exception of the 1948 war o independence, none of the wars israel foughtwere what raelis refer tos a war of
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necessity. the were all wars of choice or folly. that's the current scholarly consensus. israel's fabled purity of arms and liberal occupatio have not faredmuch better after coming nder the statute think of historians -- under thescriny of historians and human rights organizations. amnesty international reported at israel systematically toure palestinian detainees while human rights watch reported that israel tortured thousands, if not tens of thousands of palestinian detainees. the us israeli human rights organization that's seldom obsered- and now i'm quoti it -- israel is the only country in the world where torture was lega sationed.
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this policy of routine torture was only modified by isra's high court in 1999 after a worldwide outcry. the conflict betweenhe liberal sm of american jews and the egregious illiberalism of israel is the dynic factor in the current relatiship bween them. still, the dual-loyalty factor occasionallyak itself felt. although israel pushed hard for the u.s. to attack iraq in 2003, ican jews significantly opposed it and opposed it in evenrea gr percentages in retroect as e u.s. invasion turned into a debale. in part,he opposition sprang from the fact that liberals generally oppose the war, but it also sprang from the fearf american jews that they would be
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scapegoated because of israel's warmongering and the prominent role jewish neoconservatives played in beating the drums of war. the same mix of factors, liberal ideology and fear of the dual loyalty charge almost ceinly accounts fothe reticence of american jews to suprt prime minister netanyahu's latest round of warmonring. althoh netanyahu allges that jews will face a second holocaust if and when iran acquires nuclear weapons, that president obama is a claimer lain-like -- chamberlain-like appeaser, and that a romney victory would be good for the jews, the latest american jewish committee poll shows that jews will still -- notwithstanding what mr. netanyahu says -- will
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still overwhelmingly vote for obama, they will still overwhelmingly approve -- they still overwhelmingly approve of how obama's handling national security, they still strongly approve of how obama's handling u.s./israeli relations, and they still strongly approve of how obama's handling iran's nuclear program. revealingly, although 90% of those jews polled said that they were worried about iran obtaining nuclear weapons, they have still cautiously positioned themselves in the mainstream of american opinion on how to respond to the purported threat. it is also telling in recent weeks that when jews occupying leadership positions in the democratic party must choose between winning the spoils of a
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presidential election and standing behind zion as a second holocaust allegedly looms large -- as mr. netanyahu puts it, iran is 20 yards from the goal line -- these jewish power holders put their material interests here before their distant can -- kin there. to justify his, so to speak, abandonment of the jews at the altar of power and privilege, zion's faithful -- like our own senator schumer -- weirdly contrive that obama is, and now i'm quoting mr. schumer, senator schumer, far more likely than romney to launch a military attack on iran. it appears that netanyahu fell victim to his own zionist propaganda, alas, internalized by many anti-zionists as well,
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that jews not only control the united states, but also if called upon, will automatically act at israel's behest. but you did not come here this afternoon for a sociological survey of the american jewish relationship with israel. most of you presumably want to know about the political implications of the end of the american jewish romance with israel. in particular as it bears on israel's occupation of palestinian lands. i would suggest two complimentary conclusions. a broad consensus now exists for resolving the israel/palestine conflict. it includes nearly the whole of the united nations, the most respected legal bodies in the world such as the international court of justice and the most respected human rights organizations such as amnesty international and human rights watch.
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this consensus calls for a two-state settlement on the june 1967 border, that is a full israeli withdrawal from the whole of the west bank, gads saw and east jerusalem with minor and mutual land swaps and address the refugee question based on the right of return and compensation. the consensus is grounded in basic and uncontroversial principles of international law and human rights. the framework of international law and human rights also forms the bedrock of american liberalism to which jews have disproportionately contributed. it is consequently within reach, it's now within reach to win over american jews on this political solution or at least the shame them into supporting such a solution.
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but it is inconceivable that american jews can be won over to any solution that entails the coercive dissolution of israel as a state. the current con consensus for resolving the conflict based on liberal principles of law and human rights explicitly includes recognition of israel as a state. although it does not require recognition of israel as a discriminatory jewish state. the concluding sentence of the 2004 international court of justice advisory opinion, it calls for -- and now i'm quoting it -- achieving as soon as possible on the basis of international law the establishment of a palestinian state existing side by side with israel. i should add for clarification's sake and so i won't be
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misunderstood, the international court of justice was very clear. they left no room whatsoever for ambiguity. the whole of the west bank, the whole of gaza and the whole of east jerusalem are, to quote the international court of justice, occupied palestinian territory full stop. and the icj was equally clear that each and every one of those israeli settlements is illegal, a flagrant violation of international law. so when the icj concludes as it does and as i've just quoted it calling for the establishment of a palestinian state existing side by side with israel, there is no wiggle room whatsoever, there is no controversy whatsoever about what they have in mind. the israelis have to pack up their bags and leave all the territory they conquered in june
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1967. this framework -- namely, the one enunciated by the international court of justice, the u.n., human rights organizations -- this framework is the furthermost limit to which jewish liberal opinion can be carried, because it is the limit of the global liberal consensus. the end of the american jewish romance with israel will be a boon not only for the palestinians, but for the israelis as well. since the june 1967 war, israel has been a stage on which american jews have played out their fantasies of toughnesses, often from martha's vineyard -- [laughter] and a pawn in their pursuit of power and privilege. if israel has become a crazy state -- and it has -- it is in no small part because of american jews.
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by abetting its most retrograde tendencies and freeing it of needful restraints, they have exerted the baleful influence on israeli society. but american jews now have an opportunity to right a double wrong; the horror inflicts on palestine -- inflicted on palestine and the damage caused to israel. if the liberal conscience of american jews is pricked and finally they do the right thing, the long, dark night might yet soon end. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you so much to adam and the others who organized this event. it's an honor to be here. i'm excited to be here, and by the topic of this event because i believe we are at a crossroads not only in the terms of jewish american feelings towards israel, as dr. finkelstein meticulously documented in his book, but also the place of jewish voices in the movement. there is no question that wills a monumental shift happening among american jews with increasing numbers coming out against israel's occupation and apartheid policies against the palestinian people. this is largely a generational shift driven by young people who have become allies to the cause even as their parents repeat the same tired arguments that they did decades ago about israel's moral superiority and lack of a partner for peace.
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people like dr. finkelstein and dr. chomsky -- who i'm also sorry couldn't be here -- and many ores deserve credit for decades of speaking out against israel's abuses of palestinians when so few jewish or other americans did. palestinians, of course, have always been speaking out as long as they have been oppressed, though nobody listened. the courage of all these voices in the dark paved the way for many of us today. today many synagogues can no longer even talk about this issue because it is so divisive. the traditional gatekeepers of the conversation are in crisis. for example, the jewish community relations council, the jcrc in the san francisco bay area where i was living the past year is suffering a very clear downward trajectory. more than 90% of its donors are over 40 years old. the organization says it remits the jewish commitment, but it won't publish the list of synagogues because, in fact, the
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number is very few. meanwhile, organizations like jewish voice for peace are growing in leaps and bounds, its mailing list now boasts 125 subscribers. there are also explicitly anti-zionist organizations like the international jewish anti-zionist network, growing particularly quickly with more and more young american jews reclaiming american jewish identity as rooted in support for equality and justice rather than unconditional support for a state across the world that does not represent them. along with the growth of jewish support for palestinian rights, however, comes a dangerous phenomenon. that is jewish voices eclipsing palestinian voices. palestinian voices have long been dismissed as angry, irrational, biased. even people supporting justice for palestinians up say they'd
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readier have a jewish -- rather have a jewish speaker come to their community because our voices are more credible. they would rather have me telling palestinian stories than a palestinian -- the expert -- telling his or her story. events like today's draw larger crowds than a panel of palestinians speaking out about their own struggle. intentional or not, what happens is that just as we are trying to break down the imbalance of power and privilege in israel/palestine, we are recreating the same power imbalance in the u.s. context. we must challenge not only israel's abuse of palestinians, but the underlying racism at its core that somehow jews are more important than palestinians. we must acknowledge that privileging jewish american voices rather than featuring and listening to palestinian voices is rooted in racism. let's take an analogy. imagine an all-male speaking tour in the late 1960s
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promoting the feminist movement. imagine people inviting panels of men to speak about feminism because, well, women are so angry and irrational. they won't be heard as credible. any half politicized person would rightly have called this out for what it is: misogynystic. because the feminist movement was not and is not just about an end goal of getting women certain rights. it's about empowering women, women being able to speak for ourselves, it's about transforming society overall. speaking for myself, the same goes for this movement. as we speak about freedom and justice for palestinians, their voices must be at the center. and i'll talk about what that means in practice a little later. but meanwhile, what is the role of jewish americans on this issue? i would argue that an honest analysis of the situation shows that mainstream jewish american
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institutions are among the traditional gatekeepers on this issue and jewish voices are uniquely placed to challenge and disrupt those institutions' he generalny. we must be present in coalitions challenging those institutions, defending allies from claims and charges of anti-semitism that are used the stifle legitimate discussion about israel and to suppress action. the more of us that speak out, the harder it becomes for pro-occupation jewish institutions to claim to be in any way representative. by showing that the jewish community is not monolithic, we show that this is not an identity-based struggle between jews and palestinians, but a struggle for human rights like any other. to put it another way, it's not about jews leading the way, it's about stepping out of the way. i'll give you an example. this past summer in the bay area, i was part of a hearing by the sonoma county commission on
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human rights regarding an upcoming local bus contract renewal with a company deeply implicated in the israeli occupation. it was standing room only with testifiers flowing out the door waiting to speak, defending the local bus contract were representatives of the corporation and some members of the jewish commitment. on -- community. on the other side was a diverse group of community members and others from the jewish community. in other words, it was only the jewish community that was divided. what was the effect? our voices countering those from the jcrc helped the commissioners or and all the media and witnesses to see plainly the situation for what it really was: a struggle of people versus power and corporate impunity. we made space for others to be heard, and as jews we can use our voices particularly to help lift up the voices of palestinians that have been silenced for so long. by the way, and i'm speaking for myself here, this does not mean
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that we give people permission to listen to palestinian voices. historically, the role of jewish american allies has been to show that it's okay to criticize israel, to support boy cat andty -- boycott and divestment, etc. but what's really needed is a complete paradigm shift. it's the concept that you, whoever you are, do not need permission from je well,ws or ay else to do what you believe is the right thing to do. it's not that we don't participate. we should, of course, we must enthusiastically, but we must also make sure that jewish-american voices are not, as they have been in the past, regulating the terms of the discussion, including when it comes to the vision of the future of israel/palestine and the means of the freedom struggle of palestinians. our particular mandate to challenge u.s. institutional support for israel, most notably the roughly $3 million -- $3
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billion in military aid awarded israel with our tax dollars every year -- is clear and always has been. meanwhile, we must carry an extra sense of humility when it comes to an indimming now movement -- indigenous movement, in this case both as jews and americans. and that means listening when we are given the opportunity to support the oppressed. in 2005 palestinian civil society issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions, bds, against israel until it complies with international law and ends its illegal occupation, implements full equality for palestinians inside israel and promotes the right of return for palestinian refugees. all of these three things are also inscribed in international law. the call does not specify what the solution should look like
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necessarily. behind this call stands the largest breadth and broadest consensus of palestinian voices to my knowledge. it has been signed by more than 170 organizations representing all segments of palestinian civil society including unions, all major political parties, human rights organizations and more. the growing global bds movement is a thriving, diverse and inclusive movement. it is strategic in nature, empowering groups around the world to choose targets and tactics that are appropriate within each particular context. it stands on three pillars; freedom, equality and justice. representing the three rights articulated in the call, the three minimal components to fulfilling palestinians' most fundamental rights. the movement has had tremendous success so far with victories announced weekly or sometimes daily from around the world growing in size and significance. most recently in the u.s., for
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example, the quaker friends fiduciary corporation which manages investments for more than 250 quaker institutions around the country decided to divest from caterpillar, violia and hewlett-packard. [applause] following concerns expressed by a palestine/israel action group. earlier this year msci delisted caterpillar from its list of socially-responsible investments prompting financial giant to divest close to 73 million from their social choice fund. these are just two of the most recent examples. but the greatest success of the bds movement is its effect on the discourse. here in the u.s. campaigns playing out in mainstream churches, shopping centers, university campuses and city councils have fundamentally shifted the question about
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whether or not -- from whether or not israel is committing crimes to what are we going to do about it. the gatekeepers of the occupation are suddenly on the defensive where they have never been before, and more than any book or speaker -- and i'm speaking as an author and a public speaker -- ever could before, bds campaigns whether they win or lose are changing the way that people think about israel and the palestinians. i believe the success of bds is behind some of the exciting phenomena that dr. finkelstein writes about in his book. this shift in discourse will also be key in forking an -- in forcing an end to corporate support that enables israel's abuses. in part through bds, the palestine sol dare movement has transformed from talking about palestinian self-determination to manifesting it. palestinians are no longer relegated to the sidelines of their own liberation's struggle,
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but are, in fact, the leaders of it. this, in fact, makes speakers much less important. and that's okay with me, in fact, i'm happy about it. free from the old paradigm, the result is quite beautiful. quote: it's clear what the future looks like, end quote, jewish voice for peace in the article written after the first night of the university of california at berkeley hearings on divestment. she noted, and i have seen as well from sonoma county to the united methodist and presbyterian church's recent divestment hearings to the many others playing out on campuses from new york city to san diego that while on the one side you had a small group of isolated jewish students and leaders holding each other fearfully, on the other side you saw adiverse group of israelis, arabs, african-americans, latino and latina members, year allies
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holding hands in friendship, solidarity and anticipation. and as a young jewish american, this is what i want my place in the community and in the movement to look like. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, anna and norman, for those wonderful talks. the questions that we've received fall essentially into three categories. first, questions about the american jewish community and its relationship to israel, questions having to do with political strategy, for example, boycott and divestment sanctions, and thirdly, questions about what an ultimate settlement or solution might
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look like. so my suggestion is that we start with question, with the questions on the american jewish community's relationship to the state of israel. norman argues very eloquently that there is a growing rift or a parting of ways. one question that has been raised by a number of, a number of you has been what kind of evidence is there of this growing rift? are we seeing, rather, a reshuffling of the american jewish political spectrum where you have a hard core of ultra supporters represented by the lobby and the likes of sheldon edelson while most jews simply ignore the conflict and then a
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small group of people representing the left, a radical left, are making alliances with palestinians. are we seeing a reshuffling, or are we actually seeing a parting of ways? the i'm going the read a few questions having to do with the american jewish community. today the word "zionism" is used to refer to uncritical supporters of israel, israeli policy. but as i've studied it, zionism is an umbrella term for several movements pivoting around the jewish national question and also often opposing each other. do you think it would be useful in the interest of engaging the jewish community to revive the notion of cultural zionism? i think this person is referring to juda nag us in who envisioned a jewish homeland but not a jewish state as opposed to
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blanketly -- [inaudible] but we'll take two more to proceed. it would seem that transforming jewish-american politics requires that we are -- [inaudible] how would we do that, and what would the content of that identity look like? and then finally, is there anyone in israel with whom we can partner to push for a political solution? so we'll begin with those three questions before proceeding to matters of strategy. >> go ahead. >> i'll address the first question, namely the usefulness, the utility of using the term "zionism" in trying to reach a broad public. let me just say as a premise i think that's what we're trying to do. we're supposed to be trying to reach a broad public and build a
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real movement. and so far as i could tell, there are real prospects now of reaching a broad public. so that's my premise. it's on the basis of that premise which it seems to me is the only logical premise if you're interested in politics, and the basis of that premise then where does zionism fit in? first of all, i have a personal stake in the notion of zionism because i wrote my doctoral dissertation on the topic. so if i diminish its significance, it's at great perm sacrifice -- [laughter] since of my professional career all that remains is that doctoral dissertation. [laughter] personally, or i should say -- let me amend that -- politically
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i don't see any utility whatsoever of talking about zionism nowadays. first of all, most people haven't a clue what it means. secondly, for most people zionism is a hair spray. nobody knows what zionism is outside a small group of people for whom it's a matter of intense interest. secondly, in my opinion, everything you want to say by denouncing zionism, everything of any political utility that you want to say denouncing zionism, anything you want to say you can use the language that people understand. you can say you're against settlements, you're against ethnic cleansing, you're against the discriminatory state. all those principles can be rendered in a language that's accessible, that's understandable, that's comprehensible to a broad
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public. whereas when you start using terminology like zionism, a, the broad public has never heard of it, b, the term is so filled with ambiguity that it doesn't communicate a clear message. now, some people make the analogy with apartheid. they say don't we want to turn zionism into a dirty word, as it were, in the same way as the international community successfully -- or i should say the solidarity movement successfully turned apartheid into a dirty word. the problem with the analogy is the following: in the case of apartheid, there was no misunderstanding about what the term meant. apartheid meant separate development. any member of the african -- excuse me, of the south african government would tell you that,
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any member of the opposition would tell you that. they differed, they differed not on the meaning of the term, they differed on the justice of the term. the south african government and its apologists claimed that separate development was simply the self-determination of different tribes in south africa. so you had a separate self-determination for -- [inaudible] botswana and the various stans. they differed on the moral justice of apartheid. they did not differ on what it meant. the problem with zionism is there's no consensus on what it means. professor chomsky likes to say i was a zionist from age 5. well, you know, at age 5 i was trying to figure out how to tie
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my shoe and zipper my panels, and he had already read the whole corpus of zionist literature -- [laughter] resolved that he's a zionist. does that make professor chomsky the enemy? or does it mean that the notion of zionism is so replete with different meanings that trying to communicate it as a political idea that we should oppose is a dead end. the problem i have with the zionism is it's become one of those ideological litmus tests. one area was are you now or have you ever been a communist, now it's are you now or have you ever been a zionist? i noticed a few weeks or i should say a couple of months ago daniel -- [inaudible] the bds movement was celebrating the fact that daniel's east --
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[inaudible] that it had been denied entry into qatar. and the reason that this was a great victory, they said, is because daniel is a zionist. he is the enemy now also? is that how you build a movement? is that how you breach a broad public? be by even writing off people like professor chomsky because they're, quote-unquote, zionists? that doesn't make sense to me. [applause] >> so, let's see, so, um, i would agree with dr. finkelstein that we can sort of convey all all that we want to convey without using the word zionism, but i think that there's space. i think that there's space for people who want to use the word zionism, and i think it's be clear when we define it
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precisely because people have different definitions for it so we're clear about what we mean, and we say it -- i don't mean me, necessarily, but people. and then there's faith for people who don't want to use it. we already have a real movement. it's thriving. there are people who talk about zionism, and the sky hasn't fallen. it continues to grow. so i would say, you know, within your context and according to your, you know, your moral criteria you feel that it's important to talk about zionism, you know, that's great. and if you feel that it's not strategic, then don't. and there's space. this is a flexible and amazingly, um, open movement in that way, i think. i would say, actually, that, you know, i was very afraid in the first year that i started speaking, um, i was afraid if i were to sort of jump to the next level of, you know, being explicit let's say about the right of return, that i would be shunned. that the organizations that were okay with me talking about
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ending the occupation, the minute that i started talking about right of return and equality for palestinians within israel, that i would no longer be welcome to speak and, in fact, that didn't happen once. i think the people who are opposed to what we're doing are going to be opposed to what we're doing, and the people who support it are going to support it. and using the word zionism is not going to be the thing that makes a difference. um, let's see, someone asked about cultural zionism, you know, homeland versus the state. i think the idea of a jewish homeland is fine. my issue is with privileging jewish rights over palestinian rights. um, and someone asked about, um -- >> i think the question, just to jump in -- >> sure. >> -- on this issue of cultural zionism is, is there a place in a movement against the occupation for those who are seeking to rediscover a more critical version of zionism, in this case the zionism of --
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[inaudible] a zionism which as this questioner suggests was not based on expansionism or even on an exclusive ethnic jewish state. is there a place, because there's something of a confusion. are we talking about zionism as a description of people in the movement or as an epithet used by people in the movement to describe their opponents. what exactly are we talking about when we're talking about zionism? >> so, i mean, to the extent that i understand cultural zionism as it was being asked by the question asker, it's about exclusivity. it's about what it means for the palestinian people. so maybe dr. finkelstein can answer more fully, but i would say, yeah, that there's space for people who want to reexplore their definition of zionism, and what's important is that it's not on the backs of the palestinian people. so that's where i stand on that.
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about the orchestra, i want to be very clear that the bds guidelines are very clear that institutions are boycotted and not individuals. so the idea that something was boycotted because some individual that's part of it was a zionist would not be according to the bds guidelines. so either a misunderstanding about what the, you know, what the orchestra was doing, or this was not following the bds guidelines. i, as far as i understand it, i think the criteria that was met was that it was, um, a type of normalization, and so that's my understanding of it. >> um, another question related to these. um, how has the rhetoric -- this actually follows up -- >> and i feel bad because someone asked, also, about israeli partners. >> i think we can probably lead into that. >> okay, terrific. >> how has the rhetoric of j street affected jewish americans
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in the israel/palestine -- is j street expanding the conversation, narrowing it? any thoughts on j street? >> do you want me to go first? >> uh-huh. >> um, so, first of all, in terms of the question about israeli partners, there are many israeli partners boycott from within. for example, israelis who support the palestinians' call for bds are a great example of people who are playing a major role in that global movement. there are many others also. i have a list in my book, and you can find them readily online. so the issue with j street for those who may not be aware of its sort of full platform is my understanding is that it's really not about human rights or about palestinians either. the idea's that we have to end the occupation because it's bad for the jewish peach. and referring back to the -- people. this, in fact, reinforces the underlying racism that what's
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important is what's good for jews and not what's right, what respects human rightings. and so if we follow that logic, we, in fact, perpetuate the very structures that we want to be breaking down. i actually think, though, that j street -- i hope i don't get in trouble for using this word -- a kind of gateway drug, that there are more people who are more inclined to join j street than they would something that goes further, and then eventually they do go further. i would never align myself with an organization that reinforces what i think is racism. [applause] >> i'll just, i want to respond briefly to some of the things anna said and then move on to the question of j streetment when i was a college, when i was college age and a little bit
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thereafter in a previous political incarnation, i was a maoist. dare to struggle, dare to win. that was our inspiration and our cause. and much of maoism, of course, has not weathered well by history -- [laughter] i'm not quite as prepared as those who are laughing to say it was all wrong. but one of the things i remember from the days of chairman mao was one of his slogans, namely unite the many to defeat the few. how do you unite the many, and how do you isolate the adversary who's creating an obstacle? and can that's my -- and that's my approach to politics now over many years; namely, you speak a lot, anna speaks a lot, i speak a lot, and you watch what works
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with an audience. what isolates the diehards? what wins over large numbers of people? it's not a popularity contest. obviously, you want to maintain principles. but on the other hand, your goal is to unite the many to defeat the few. now, when you start talking about something like zionism, the other side loves it. you're playing right into their hands because they start with, well, zionism is a national liberation of movement of the jews. okay. that's step one. then the jews are a people, they are a nation, and then you start arguing about j well,ews and pea race, a religion, a nation. and then before you know it, it becomes this kind of eternal naval gazing where you're talking about zionists and jew,
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the history of the jewish people, are they a religion, oh, they're such an enigma, it's so.com my candidated -- [laughter] and before you know it, we forgot about the occupation! [laughter] and the role of politics is to keep that focus so they can't get out of it. they want to talk about are jews a people, a nation, a race, whatever -- usually, they're all three -- and you say, no, we're not talking about zionism here, and we're not talking, excuse me, we're not going to be talking about jews now. we're talking about the occupation, we're talking about the law, we're talking about israel's egregious violations of basic principles of international law. that's what we want to talk about. so i get a little bit queasy when i hear anna say there's space for this and space for that. with all due respect to somebody i deeply admire, that reminds me
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of the '60s. [laughter] it's a little bit too feely-touchy for my taste. [laughter] now, i'll admit the hard line maoism, that doesn't have a place any longer either. but we have to maintain the focus. we have to have a clear agenda for people, otherwise we lose the public. the moment you start talking about zionism, jews, the public, you know, all right, and they tune you out. [laughter] they close their eyes, they fade out, you lose them. i'm watching the audience, and the moment i hear -- watch. that's the most important thing about speaking and teaching. you have to always watch the audience. unfortunately, people like fidel never grasped that idea, and he didn't care if there was nobody left in the room, and the few who are left are sprawled on the floor sound asleep. he just keep talking. [laughter]
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well, that's, of course, the prerogatives of being a dictator, a charismatic one, but still a dictator. but we have to watch the audience. and with all due modesty, i have good, i have pretty sensitive antenna from many years of teaching. the moment we start talking about cultural zionism, already half the audience is half asleep because they don't know what zionism is to begin with, and now cultural zionism, where the hell are we going, you know? [applause] we have to be careful about that. this is not a debating society, it's politics, it's real people's suffering. and that's do prize we have to always keep our eyes on. and that's why unlike anna, i'm not so tolerant of there's space for everything and everyone. no. there's no due -- no space for
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harry krishnas -- [laughter] yes, if we're serious. now, the last thing about the j street. j street, its leadership is absolutely horrible. [applause] no, they are. they're ghastly. their idea, their idea of open-minded politics is tippy livni, you know, who brought to you the gaza massacre and was very proud of it, incidentally. she boasted about how we -- to quote her, how we carried on with real high school begannism in -- hooliganism in gaza. but one has to make a very biggies 2006 between j street leadership and the j street base. the base is many people join j street because they figure it's the only game in town. there's either aipac or j street, and they join j street because they want to be part of something progressive, and they don't see any alternative. and i think our challenge now is we have to create a third
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alternative, one that's seriously grounded in international law, human rights and to give people a third alternative. if we give people that third alternative, my within is we could probably win over about three-quarters of the j street base, because there's just a lot of people there who are, you know, itching for something more than the, what j street has to offer which is really not very much. [applause] >> so to be very clear, i was not talking about space for everybody, there's no space for racists, there's no space for bigots. what i meant was that there's, i believe that there is space for using different kinds of language. as somebody who has also spoken a lot and has a lot of experience with being compelling, i like to believe to diverse audiences, i fail to understand how we can simultaneously be talking about keeping the focus on palestinians and their experience, and i like to think
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their voices, but saying you can't use this or that word. palestinians use the word zionism. so to say we want to honor and keep our focus on palestinians but don't you dare use that word seems to me hypocritical and wrong. [applause] so, because it's not really just about what we say as speakers, it's about what palestinians are -- you know, we're not the only speakers out there. i totally agree that we need to reach out to diverse audiences, to bring people along in some cases, to meet them with they're at to, you know, invite them on that journey, but where is our breaking point? and that is -- and i believe our breaking point is when we begin to, when we begin to lose sight of the fundamental basic rights of palestinians.
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[applause] >> so, um, thanks, anna. so as you can see, not only are jews not united on israel, they're not united in the way they oppose israel. [laughter] i want to follow up on norman's point about the question of audience. norman is arguing that talk of zionism, risks alienating the audience, boring the audience and that it's just not very practical to engage in discussions of zionism in our opposition to israeli conduct. zionism's a charged word. so is the bds. and i think that our, this question has been raised by a number of people, what is your position on boycott, divestment and sanctions? would you both care to comment
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on that? >> i support it fully. [laughter] [applause] [laughter] >> i, i won't say whether i support fully or partially for a very simple reason, because there are many versions of bds out there. and to speak of it as if it's a unified, single homogeneous whole, i think, is disingenuous which is just a fancy word for dishonest. so what is bds? let's take a practical example. well, first of all, let me just go through what bds says it is. and then we'll look at what bds is in practice. so if you read any of the
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statements on bds -- and i've read them all, and i've read only there are a couple of books on the topic, both of which i've read -- a few books on the topic, maybe three, which i've read -- the first thing that bds always says is that we are anchored in international law. .. that seems to me to be a contradiction, because international law is very clear on this subject. there is no ambiguity whatsoever
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when it comes to international law, and resolving the israel-palestine conflict, which i refer to as the solution. it's very clear. that's why i was very caution in my introductory remarks. i was going to call it the international court of justice that said on the topic. the international court of justice, the highest judicial body in the world, the are bitter of what international law constitutes in the world, the international court of justice says all the territory to the east of the green line is occupied palestinian territory. namely the whole of the west bank and gaza and east jerusalem. but the part to the west of the green line, that is israel. that is a state under international law. and it says at the end, the last sentence of this opinion, we look forward to the creation of
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a palestinian state, side-by-side with israel, leaving in peace with its neighbors. so, to me, it's perplexing how you can both claim your whole enterprise is based on international law, yet claim to be ago nose -- agnostic on one critical component of the international law. you may not like the international law, and that's fair enough. but if you don't like the law, don't pretend, don't claim that your enterprise is based on international law, because it is not. the law is not agnostic or silent on the question of israel. the law is very clear on that question. number two, can you reach -- and
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i'm repeat myself again because it's my only cry tieron -- can you reach the public to take a position on israel. so what happens in the real world? now, in the real world, based on my experience over 30 years, the real world -- this what happens. there's a broad public. it listens to your side. you say the occupation is terrible, palestinians are being oprocessed, massive human rights violations and the broad public nods its head, yes, that's terrible. then you say that we have to support bds. okay. but remember, we don't live in a totalitarian country. we live relatively speaking in a democracy, relatively speaking,
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which means the people who just heard you, they have two ears, not one, and now they go listen to the other side, and the other side is very well organized. the other side is very energetic and aggressive, and they say, don't believe a word those bds people are telling you. they say they care about the occupation. they say they care about the oppression of palestinians but it's not true. what they really want to do is, they want to destroy the state of israel. that's their real agenda. okay. the public has now heard the other side. it then goes back and it says, well, we found what you said very convincing. but now we hear that your real goal is, you want to destroy the state of israel.
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so what do you say to that? well, we take no position on israel. is that convincing? will that win a broad public? or will the broad public think, those people had a point maybe. it's a question of how you reach the public. and you can't reach a public, number one, if you claim to be basing yourselves on international law when in fact you're not. that's just not honest. and number two, you can't reach a broad public if you claim to be ago nose -- agnostic on the question of israel bus it covers a broad spectrum it can be nice things like creating a nutty national jewish state and also include want to destroy israel.
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ing a agnosticism has a lot that can fit into that, we take no position, and if the public wants to read the most nefarious possibility, i think it's within their right. now, one last thing. on her presentation, she lists all these victories of bds. but are they victories for bds? i was involved in bds before there was bds. no. i was. i would go to the presbyterian convention each year. but if you read, for example, -- i will just give an illustration. you read, for example, omar's back bds. he says if you support israel, you're not really bds. if you support the existence of state of israel, you're not really bds. there's a real bds.
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now, of all the examples you gave, of all the examples you gave, how many of those organizations, which divested -- how many of them take no position on israel? my understanding is, none. so by the criteria of the bds movement, that is not bds. it's just supporting with a lower case boycott divestment, which of course i support, but if bds means being neutral on the existence of israel, well, then, none of the organizations or none of the victories you cited are actually victories for bds. because the church organizations are very clear, we're not talking about the dissolution of the state of israel. there's no ambiguity in the presbyterian position on that. i've read their platform.
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so it's a kind of dishonest con nation to call these victories as victories for bds when they are nothing of the sort. >> the support sanction until and unless israel ends it occupation and there's an answer to the refugee question. and where there have been victories, that's what those victories are about, and of course i completely support them. [applause] >> that's a lot. there's one call, not many different bds movements. there's one bds call, there are people who do boycott, die investigation and sanction, but when we talk about the bds movement, there's one call, you can find at bds movement.net.
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so, if i understand logically speaking, the sort of -- the train of thought is that if bds advocates for the right of return, equal rights for palestinians inside israel and an end to the occupation, that equals the one state and that is that. i think that's what i understood from dr. finkelstein. >> never mentioned one state. >> we're going to hold off on the one-state discussion. i don't want to wade into that. >> okay, so, what i did understand, though, is this idea that international consensus is around a two-state solution, that was mentioned. and therefore, anything that could possibly be interpreted as anything else is bad, and i first of all would maintain the bds movement does not take a position on this and precisely because different organizations
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inside the bds coalition have different perspectives on this, and that okay. one state, two state, any state, that respects the fundamental rights of palestinians, is open for discussion. to say that's not okay, i want to know which of those rights we're conceding on behalf of palestinians, which by the way is not our right or pierogi at the. if you're talking about international law. international law protects all three rights. international law, yes, it calls for the end over the occupation -- end of the occupation, and calls for the right of return, and also calls for an end to discrimination of palestinians inside what became israel. for example, the resolution 181, the partition plan, was based on absolutely no discrimination of people according to ethnic or religious identity. several's by entry into the uit
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inned nations was conditioned upon this win. can't pick and choose which international law we're going to that dmissin aspectsfould say international law is in fact straying from the international consensus. the other thing i want to say about international consensus, is since when is the consensus among powershat determines what we advocate for? if the international consensus was that the occupation is right and should continue, would we advocate for that? of course not. what we advocate for is according to what is right. that's all what this movement has done. always where it's started from. it starts small and keeps getting billinger and that's what happening. the focus on the right has been the strength, i believe, of the bds movement and why we into it growing so quickly and having more success i believe educating
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the public, in bringing more people in than my tours -- my hundreds of different presentations ever did. it's exactly what brings people in. instead of choosing one solution over another. i don't think it's at all alienating. on the contrary. it's working. pushing the envelope. i would also say that it is -- these social movements that change the international consensus, the international consensus is not like a ready-made box that has always been there. it's something that changes over time and that's what we're part of doing. and the last thing i would say in terms of the victory thing exaggerated. first of all, as i said in my opening comments, bds is a lot about education, and like i said, i believe we have achieved a lot with bds in that way. and galvanizing people, et cetera. to say it hasn't worked, look at israeli newspapers. this movement is perceived as
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more challenging to the status quo than any diplomatic lip service by obama or un resolutions or anything ever did. we see it now mentioned regularly in the "new york times." a think tank in israel has tried to rebrand israel's image or develop this theme to bree brand israel's image because it's tee tier you're rate in sonoma county, why did the deputy consul general of israel in san francisco change overnight? because we have no power? because we're so small and have no victories? no, precisely because we're challenging the status quo, and that's how change happens. [applause] >> we're going to turn now to the question of solutions.
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[laughter] >> if we haven't talked about that. >> international consensus for many years has been that a two-state settlement could resolve the israel-palestine conflict. since the mid-1970s, the palestinian national movement has essentially supported a two-state solution. that decision was formalized in 1988 in algiers. but in recent years, many informed students of the conflict have been stating their beliefs of the two-state solution ills dead or pretty much so, i'm quoting from one of the questions. particularly the west bank. is it realistic anymore to call for a two-state solution, given the expansion of settlements, the establishment of a kind of -- what was called a matrix of
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control. are we calling for something that is no longer feasible? >> so, in terms of is it realistic and then what do we advocate for. so, in terms of what is realistic. the professor papi who is speaking this weekend at thetree tribunal or palestine, i think it's sold but but it's phenomenal. he says the following of it's already one state. you have jews live neglect palestinian west bank, you have palestinians living in the jewish state. they're all living under the control of one government, one military. what would happen, if you simply removed the institutions of apartheid and oppression and discrimination and shocking as
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it sounds, give equal rights to everybody, no matter their religion or ethnicity. i fail to understand why people hearing this think it is a message of destruction. was end eight par tied in south africa destroying south africa? no. it was liberating it from a discriminatory system that was its own achilles heel. [applause] >> so, i cannot help but defend against this booing -- going by main and fear mongering about the implex of these rights as some sort of destructive argument in terms of what do we advocate for. i don't think it's my role to be advocating either way. i don't have the same stake in the conflict or in the solution -- not conflict -- as israelis and palestinians but i would say that whatever we're advocate for, let's define it. if wore defining two states as one state that is reserved for
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one particular ethnic population, and whose demographic balance can only be maintained through systemic, denying the fundamental human rights of an entire population, then that is something we should look at and we should have a problem with. if you define two states in some other way, then it's a different discussion. [applause] >> one of the problems with this whole discussion of the israel-palestine conflict is it's become so absurdly personalized and so divorced from politics. so, whenever you get into a room with a couple of people, you start talking israel-palestine. inside of a half minute, the
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first question that comes ', do you support one state or two states? as if politics were about what you support or what i support. that's not politics. politics is about what you can reach a broad public on. what the broad public thinks is legitimate, reasonable, just, or what the broad public thinks insipiently reasonable and just. just at the point of reaching it and push them a little further. but politics is not about what i like or you like. that's not politics. that's your personal ideology which is something very different than politics. the second problem with the conflict, as i seeings it,
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especially it's unfolds in the palestine movement, is this notion that if you can prove something is logically sensible, therefore it's politically sensible. so, it's kind of a version of john lennon's "imagine." i think it's a beautiful song, but does it have much to do with politics? i don't think so. let's take a logical example. so, united states has 30 million e-mail who claim to be -- who are of mexican origin, one-tenth of the american population. and as we all know, the united states stole half of mexico. just a fact. and the mexican's economy is highly dependent on remittances from mexican workers in the united states. so, logically speaking, if we want to speak about logic, the
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obvious solution to the problem of, quote, illegal mexican immigration, the logical solution is rerace the border and create one state. [applause] >> now, there are people in this room who applaud that. and -- and -- and-to be honest, developed a real affinities for burritos, so, i'm not particularly appalled at the idea. and spanish people at least from latin america tend to be very generous with north americans. if you speak a couple words of terrible spanish and english, they're very nice about it. don't ask that the parissans when you try too speak french. so on all those counts only not opposed to the idea of eliminating the border. but if you're a political activist, if you're trying to
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reach a broad public on the question of mexican immigration, is there even a snowball's chance in hell advocating one state is going reach the public? even though it's completely logical. it is. it's completely sensible. it is. it's also politically a dead end. people who are really interested in the topic, not posturing, not posing, they talk about things like immigration reform. yes. it sounds very boring. we want revolution. we don't want reform. but that's politics. that's where we're at now in the united states. that's the limit. and now we have to ask ourselves again with the question of israel-palestine. what is, if i can use a phrase, the political horizon, the
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political horizon of enlightened public opinion? what's the limit that you can bring public opinion to at this particular point? now, my understanding is the limit we can reach now -- the limit -- is what you call the language of international law and human rights. once you go past that limit, you lose the public. there was a time in the 1960, '70s, use the language of marxianism and socialism, and you could reach a public -- i vastly exaggerated how much of the public was ready for the rick day you'reship of the prolit tearat, but you can use the fancy tomorrow account or discourse. it doesn't exist anymore. in our world the limit is international law and human rights. that's what people are ready to understand. now, anna says, why are we going
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to defer to what the international powers say? it's not just the international powers. that's why i said it's also the international court of justice. it's also the human rights organization. it's amnesty. it's human rights watch. they're all part of that consensus. they all start from one basic fact. they start from the fact that the west bank, gaza, and east jerusalem are occupied palestinian territories. they do not start from the fact that israel is occupied palestinian territory. the point of departure is the law. so when you want to dismiss that law, you are dismissing, as far as i could tell, the limit of enlightened public opinion in the world today. that to me means we're no longer talking to ourselves.
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i take that back. we're only talking to ourselves. number two. you still haven't answered the conundrum that the law says israel is a state. how can you say you support the law and not recognize what the law in every context i've mentioned recognizes. that israel is a state. as to the solution, as far as i can tell, the limit we can reach is the law -- i think we can win the broad public it to. i think if we do things right we can win a large chunk of the jewish community. i thought adam's formulation at the beginning was right. maybe i exaggerate a little, and he said, maybe we're talking about the diversification of the american jewish community which was once an iron clad bloc.
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now there's one last question which adam was hinting at -- more than hinting at -- the question of practicality. are two states still possible? this is not a rhetorical question. it's a practical one. and if you look at the various maps the palestinians have presented in the course of negotiations, they have, for example, presented a map that shows israel would keep approximately 1.9% of the west bank, and which in that 1.9%, about 302,000 of the settlers lived, 62% of the settlers, in exchange for a land swap from israel of 1.9%. so, it's a mutual land swap which will enable 60% of the
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settlers to remain in place. i understand that americans who have been involved in this, as well as israelis -- not israelis -- international people, they coming up with their own map. i'm not an expert in geography. i don't pretent to be. i think a lot of people who say the two state settlement is dade make pretensions -- pre tensions about their knowledge that don't correspond to their actual injuring. maps are put together by the best palestinian gee -- geographyers. they very detailed and show how the two states would work. what is most striking is, when he presented his map to the israelis during the negotiations, in particular to livni, who was the foreign
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minister, she looked at the map and you could tell she found the maps convincing. under her terms. and she didn't have an easy answer, so she started to ask the palestinians, particularly dr. abbott, what would about this village? he said we can build a brim there what about that town? he said you can build a road here. and you see that livni realizing, you know, what is actually a fair solution. she doesn't say it. what she says is -- and it's absolutely critical -- she says -- now i'm paraphrasing, can't remember verbatim the quote. she says, no israeli prime minister, accepting such a map could survive politically. the problem is not physical. the problem is political, that
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you have to change the calculus of cost for israel such that they're willing to accept the map. right now israel has the first, probably in history, cost-free occupation, as it was put in a book on hamas, they have zero responsibility and total control. policing its done by the palestinians. paying the bills is paid for by the europeans. and the political work is done by the united states. so why should israel agree to any map? it's cost-free. our job is to change the calculus of such that israel realizes the price of keeping the occupation is more expensive than withdrawing from
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palestinian territory. [applause] >> so, i want to clarify again that we are talking about international law. we are talking about rights prescribed in international law. so we're not talking about departure from that. we're also talking about something that its working in terms of bringing in the public. something that again -- i'm repeating myself but i'm not a the only one. this is something that is working, that is appealing to a wide audience. so, i believe that to say, you know what, palestinians, i like your idea of rights but it's not practical. it's just not realistic. that's privilege. palestinians don't have the ability to say -- [applause] -- to say, you know what, they need to fight for their rights like every single person in this room would do in their position.
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so for us to stand here, sit near new york city and say it's not practical for palestinians to have all their rights is wrong. ... it is blatantly obvious. if people hadn't spoken out for what was right at a time when it was incorrect or when they were a small group which i don't think we are anymore. we have a critical mass if we get to and starch advocacy i
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think we are there but it is unrealistic, we would not have seen the end of apartheid in africa or the end of jim crow and those are things we are proud of, proud of people who spoke up and didn't compromise and didn't say it is unrealistic so we are going to work for nicer quarters. people who said we are going to fight with you the entire way along, those are the heroes and i hope we can look to them for time pressure. and [applause] >> i have to curb -- it is a professor's instinct. we are not going to end up as enemies. that is not possible. i am saying that because i want that to be clear. i think if i lose her our cause is lost.
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i don't want there to be any animus or hostility resulting from this evening. it is just a serious issue and we have to have a serious talk about it. anna keeps talking about rights but rights is an abstract term. you have to define what you mean by rights. palestinians spoke about the right to self-determination. they have a right to self-determination. that has been validated under international law. the problem is people take a right as in a right of self-determination to be a blank check that you can write anything into this right. no. the right is not just a principal. the right has been explicitly
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defined under international law. you may not like it, but the international court of justice, united nations, human-rights organization have defined the rights of self-determination, the right of palestinians in the west bank and gaza and east jerusalem to a state side by side with israel. it is not an abstract principle. it is a concrete right, and the right has been defined. and invoke the example of apartheid in south africana and by implication why don't we aim for the same thing? the answer is completely obvious if you know the history. when the south african government, the white south african government tried to get around the international
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community's revulsion of apartheid they tried to create these things called the bantustans who were given full independence beginning in 1976. when it came before the united nations, to vote on recognizing the bantustans, the vote was 134-0, the u.s. was the sole abstaining. it was 134-0. is exactly the same lopsided majority in the united nations, the same lopsided majority that the case of israel/palestine calls for two states on the june of 1967 border. the obvious reason why to
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support two states in the june of 1967 border is the same reason you supported one state in south africa, because that is what the international community deemed the reasonable, just and legitimate resolution of the conflict. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> the finkelstein debate can continue outside where norman and anna will be signing their books, "knowing too much: why the american jewish romance with israel is coming to an end," thank you for coming. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you would like to see featured on booktv but? send an e-mail to booktv@c-span.org tweet the set with.com/booktv. >> william kennedy explore the political and cultural structure of albany in "o albany!" city of political wizards, fearless ethnics, spectacular aristocrats, splendid nobody's and underrated scoundrels. booktv spoke with mr. kennedy during our recent visit to albany with the help of our partner time warner cable. >> albany had a bad rap for a very long time because of the politics for one thing but also
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way back to the building of the capital in the 1870s, stanford right, the great architect, was working on the capital, h. h. richardson, another major architect, this would prove to be the most expensive building on the american continent, $25 million when it was declared finished in 1997 by teddy roosevelt. stanford white came here around 1872 and said of all the terrible things i have to spend another night in albany. of all the one horse towns this is the absolute worst. and it was on we and the devil. i have to spend another night in
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albany. that changed when the capital went up. suddenly albany became a tourist attraction. "o albany!" which is an impressionistic history of the city, was an ambitious project, 26 articles, covered the whole ethnic history of the city and every geographic neighborhood and the lot more. and it sold extremely well, all over the country. it was an unusual development, and it has been selling ever since. it is a phenomenon that are don't quite understand but what i discovered was what a fantastic town this is. i had left albany, never wanted to come back. i would come back for the family
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but when the circumstances brought me back and i got thrust into this situation, and i started to see what an epic history this city has, the second oldest chartered city in the country, in the seventeenth century, has a history long before the revolution as it has had since. it was a central meeting place of all the revolutionary's during the american revolution. washington, lafayette, philip schuyler, generals of the revolution living in albany and so on, benjamin franklin, and so on and so on and so on.
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in the history of those years, and in the early nineteenth century albany became the terminus of the erie canal, and always been a crossroads. we were at the end of the river. henry hudson came up the river in 1607 and couldn't go any further than these rocky bottom shallows. what was where he dropped anchor turned out to be albany eventually. albany is like all of the great cities in this formations. all of the european immigration, the dutch and the english and
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the germans and the irish, they came in fantastic numbers into new york, philadelphia, boston, and so on, and albany. albany had so many i ridge that they couldn't handle it and they stopped and close our borders and would not let any more people in. there were so many people coming in to the city that eventually the irish became dominant in the nineteenth century in numbers. in 1875 census it shows one in six were born in ireland. add to this the politics, albany was always a political setting. dutch colonization, rebellious city, in the time of the
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english, we had a revolution, plotters, schemers, drafters of the constitution gathering in albany, franklin, albany, and so it went through the years. one of the great politicians of all time in this state and this country was the mayor of albany. he had uninterrupted success from the time he was elected in 1942 until he died in hospital of emphysema in 1983, 11 terms uninterrupted and that is the longest running mayor of any city in the united states and very proud, he was proud of this
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fantastic political machine, away from the republicans in 1921 and the key figure in that was an irishman, dan o'connell, and a couple of courting brothers, they founded the democrat -- the new democratic party and took the city back from the republicans in 89 nine. when they took it, in 1921, they never let go. it is still in power, succession has been on through the two people who were the key, perpetual leaders of the machine. dan o'connell died in 1967, and erasmus six years later and
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after that came tommy whalen who was chosen as a successor by courting by erasmus and jerry jennings succeeded connie wayman who died and serve ten years and quit and was succeeded in a primary and that was unheard of because you never contravened the choices on the political boss in o'connell. he was an absolute major power and did not share his power. he ran a tight ship, he was the most incredible politician. the historian, what we should do
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is put this political machine, the smithsonian institution and a boss machine is all about. actor tommy whalen came into power, open up the city, no longer the boss machine and jerry jennings, they have run an open city and it is not at all the kind of tammany hall politics albany was famous for. it was a notable target constantly through the whole 20th century through the 80s, target for reformers and
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especially republican reformer when the governor got into power, thomas dewey tried to make his way to the white house on the backs of the albany politicians and sales, nelson rockefeller in investigated the albany political machine and failed and the machine went on and on and on, but who knows how many elections they stole and the graph was extraordinary. but it was the consolidation of power of the ethnic groups that had been coming into this country, they were all part of this mosaic that came to be this political machine but by and large it was run by the 2 guys, an irishman and a connecticut yankee. it is the history of the city in
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the subtitle, fearless that makes, political wizards, underrated scoundrels, and we still have a lot of those, but it is a different town now, it is no longer just albany. it is about five or six tones all put together. saratoga is homely half an hour away. these are great places to live. pat and to see. there is a lot to see in this town. the town is coming back. it is a beautiful town. it is a really beautiful town and a lot of people know it. it doesn't have that reputation
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anymore that stanford might. >> on a recent visit to albany, n.y. with the help of time warner cable booktv explore the literary and cultural atmosphere of the city. albany, known as one of the most populous cities in the u.s. in 1810 is home to several institutions of higher learning including the university at albany, state univ. of new york, the albany law school which is the fourth oldest law school in the u.s. and the albany college of pharmacy and health sciences. >> we are in the university of albany library department of special collections archives and the main repository on campus for collecting archival records, historical records, primary sources that are used by students, teachers, professors, scholars, journalists and many others to do historical research.
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the national colony archive was started here at the university of albany in 2001. it was a partnership between the archivists here at the department of special collections archives and faculty members in the school of criminal justice. there is no national death penalty archive for documenting the fascinating history of capital punishment in the united states so we set forth to establish its first death penalty archive and what we do is reach out to key organizations, significant individuals who are working either to abolish capital punishment or are proponents of capital punishment and these individuals and organizations for the ideas that frame the debate that goes on in the legal arena and the political arena over the death penalty. what i want to show you from the national death penalty archive
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today is a collection from a gentleman whose name is spam watch sp junior who is recognized as the foremost historian of the death penalty in the united states. he began doing research on the death penalty in the late 1960s one he was a traveling salesman, became so fascinated with crime and capital punishment and at that time was a proponent of the death penalty but became so fascinated with the topic of the death penalty that he quit his job as a traveling salesman and dedicated his life to documenting every single person executed in the united states in the beginning of this country. when he started his work, there were estimates in the scholarly community that were five for 6,000 people executed in the united states. after his three decades of work he documented nearly 16,000 people executed and collect all these primary sources and i am
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going to show you some of these documents from the collection right now. here is a picture of him in his home in alabama surrounded by the walls of his home that he had framed with people who were executed and these other kinds of things that he went to small city governments and county governments doing local research to document his goal to document every single person executed in the country. one of the persons he compiled information on was the youngest person to be executed in the united states in the 20th century. if you think about the history of capital punishment, it seems drawn-out. one of the things is the execution of children, ideas and perspectives, is it right to execute children, another theme
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is is it proper to execute people who are mentally ill? another issue that is drawn-out in the history of capital punishment is the factor of race in determining sentencing of capital punishment. it has been statistically proven that race is a mitigating factor in capital punishment so these themes of race, executing the young, executing the mentally ill are some of the themes you can draw out of the collection so here we have george, 14 years old when he was convicted of killing an 11-year-old girl in south carolina in 1934. he was 14 years old, barely 95 pounds, feet tall and was swiftly convicted and executed within three months of his
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crime. when he was executed he was put in an electric chair. this was built for adults so they could barely get the straps around his wrist and leg. he was so skinny and in, do we want to execute in this country people who are children. then he would create an index card on that individual person. here we see him, he created this card, talked-about barely 14 years old, from south carolina, march 24, 1944, he encountered an 8-year-old and 11-year-old girl who worked with george's father it looked like and eventually, fairly brutal crime
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was committed. it says here speedily brought to trial for the death of june b n binnik binniker, was prosecuted but did not receive the death sentence, no appeal, clemency was denied by governor johnson whose stated, quote, the brutality of the crime negated any consideration of his youthfulness. after his conviction he admitted to the murders and stinney made no comment after entering the death chamber with a bible under his arm and the guards had difficulty strapping his light form in the chair which had been designed for adults. at the time of his execution he was only 14 years, 5 months old. he cites where he got that
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information from. so the papers contained 90 boxes of records, index cards on 16,000 people who were executed in the united states. the first person executed in the united states was in 1608 in shamestown, virginia, george kimball executed for espionage. his father managed some bank. i don't know if this leisure had any connection to that but he wrote down every single person once he discovered that they were executed. he started off with the ledger, it is much -- you will see here he listed name, occupation, what city they came from, crime, the
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age, the motive, the date, the factual information about the person executed. so you will see we are in south carolina here. turn here to south carolina, and here is george william kennedy -- stinney. it is interesting that he first calls george stinney of child then crosses and out and call some student so the damage where he was from, is crime, murder, and he adds 11-year-old white girl and his date of execution june 16th, 1944. you can see how meticulous he
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was in his research. the ledger itself goes from 1968 to 1982 and then he went to the index cards but it is the most comprehensive collection on people executed in the united states from the very first person in sixteen 08 till he stopped working in 2005 he stopped collecting and became somewhat ill. one of the things that he would say is he started off as a a proponent of the death penalty but as he did his research as he realized people who were innocent were executed, people who were children were executed, people who did not have the mental capacity to know what they were doing in a crime connected to the death penalty
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archive, not necessarily part of the research, the idea that some of the organizations whose records we have murder victims and family members of ritter victims who are against the death penalty. that aspect of research is fascinating, that someone whose spouse or child was the victim applause gruesome crime would advocate not for the death penalty. these collections are the way historians, students or professional scholars or journalists, this is how people research and write history. primary source documents as evidence to prove their arguments, they use primary sources to document the people and organizations they are writing about.
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this is the raw material for historians and historical researchers to provide evidence for history. i always like to say that a historian is similar to a lawyer. and we need to present that argument what their thesis is and provide evidence to back up their thesis. we take care and manage all the evidence historians have for research and writing purposes. >> for more information on this and other cities on local content = 4 go to c-span.org/localcontent. >> you are watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate, weeknights watch keep public policy events and every weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get scheduled on our web site and join in the conversation